Which Way Forward For The “Batman” Movie Franchise? Take Nine : The Story Takes Shape


The above image, in case you hadn’t figured it out, is an updating of the classic Batman “quick-version” origin story, “The Legend Of The Batman – Who He Is And How He Came To Be” by Bill Finger and Bob Kane that I included with the last post. This modernized version was done for the Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee Batman storyline “Hush,” which is considered something of a modern “classic” even though, for my money, it pretty much sucks. I’ve never been a fan of Lee’s art, and the story here is essentially another drawn-out murder mystery by Loeb a la his “Long Halloween” storyline, and in point of fact he even employs the exact same plot conceit to disguise the identity of the true killer that he used in that previous series! All of which has precisely zero to do, specifically, with the hypothetical storyline of our hypothetical Bat-trilogy, save for one thing — folks who have read the “Hush” story should know that the Batman/Catwoman relationship depicted therein will have a big influence on how I see their relationship developing in this series. In an ideal world, I suppose, we’d just be able with this new series to come right out and admit a couple less-than-well-kept secrets about the Batman — namely that he’s gay and that he has a taste for a bit of, as the British would so politely put it, “rough trade,” but I think the world is, sadly, about 20 years years away from being ready and able to accept an openly gay Batman, so in this trilogy we’re going to keep up the pretense, paper-thin as it’s getting to be at this point, that the Caped Crusader is, indeed, heterosexual.

But we’re a good few posts away from really getting into the “meat” of how I see the whole Batman/Catwoman relationship evolving, being that we just wrapped up our pre-credit “teaser” sequence, the credits themselves have just rolled, and the there’s already a bit of a conundrum brewing in the audience’s mind as to whether or not this really is the Batman we’ve always known — as in, Bruce Wayne — at all.

Our first scene after the credits roll would be to see Bruce Wayne examining a large computer screen in the nearly-completed Batcave, and as the ever-reliable Alfred Pennyworth enters, they’ll exchange some dialogue about how two years of intense legwork are nearly complete — the cave itself, where Wayne has essentially been living and training, is all set, the “Bat vigilante” is firmly fixed in the public mind as a force that seems to be on their side, and their super-computer has been able to pin all the crime lords in town barring Vincent Lucchesi with plenty of criminal charges. Now is the time for the next phase in Bruce Wayne’s master plan to begin — he’ll “return” to Gotham officially, stake his claim to Wayne Enterprises through a surrogate, take the reins of the Thomas And Martha Wayne Foundation himself as his “day job,” and at night he’ll concentrate on nailing Lucchesi in his “Bat-vigilante” persona.

For that, though, he’ll need some help — and he’s zeroed in on two people on the “inside” that he’s made a calculated determination he can trust — new police commissioner Jim Gordon and new DA Harvey Dent. His period of working alone is over, and now that he’s delivered every other big crime lord in town to them, he’s earned a level of trust and respect from both these men. Lucchesi’s going to be a tougher nut to crack, though, because unlike the other guys, who could all be tied to the drug trade eventually through various phony business set-ups, bank accounts, etc., Gotham’s last “crime lord” doesn’t actually seem to be involved in the drug trade at all — the strangest thing Bruce Wayne/Batman has been able to come across in regards to Lucchesi is his well-concealed , even more well-concealed than the other guys were in regards to their involvement with the drug trade, orchestration of the shipment of large amounts of a perfectly legal, albeit quite dangerous, form of liquefied fertilizer into town, which naturally has Batman thinking that he’s working on a massive bomb of some sort.

Now, hopefully a competent screenwriter quite weave all this into a naturally-enough-sounding conversation that wasn’t too heavy on the info-dump and that would end with Alfred saying something along the lines of “well, all these questions will have to wait, sir, because Bruce Wayne is due in on a flight from San Francisco at noon on Friday.”

“And so I do, Alfred, and so I do.”

“And how, pray tell, do you intend to get to San Francisco undetected, sir?”

“You know, Alfred, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic — I thought I’d hop the rails for old times’ sake.”

I think I’ll leave it at that for now, since the next scene, with a clearly disguised-to-give-him-a-disheveled appearance Bruce Wayne playing hobo and riding in the back of a boxcar is the next crucial stage in the overall setup of the film’s first act and probably deserves a post of its own, so we’ll focus in on that tomorrow.

What say you to our little setup so far, then? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Still too early to tell? As always, any and all comments are welcome, whether positive, negative, or aggressively neutral!



7 responses to “Which Way Forward For The “Batman” Movie Franchise? Take Nine : The Story Takes Shape

  1. I actually enjoy Lee’s art when he pulls back a bit. It’s not like that in HUSH, but I think part of the Lee overload in that story-arc comes from the fact that Lee must’ve been gushing over getting to draw Batman.

    I actually think that trying to make the Wayne persona just as important (not just as a daytime decoy) as the Batman persona is something that most Batman stories lack. I mean, yes he’s a playboy dilettante by day as part of his cover, but that doesn’t mean he has to act stupid when it comes to the Wayne fortune and legacy.


    • I agree with that! The Bruce Wayne I picture in this new Bat-trilogy is a civic leader who clearly has his shit together and doesn’t bother with concocting a playboy persona. As for Jim Lee “pulling back,” I guess that’s something I have yet to see. The only sustained story arcs I’ve seen him work on are “Hush,” and he and Brian Azzarellos’ Walkabout Superman” (which, in fairness, I think is actually called “Man Of Tomorrow”), as well as his risible “All-Star Batman & Robin” with the formerly sane Frank Miller.I understand why Lee’s art appeals to people on a purely technical level, but it just doesn’t do a thing for me and never has.


      • I think he should’ve continued moving into the experimental style he was trying out when he worked on the original Deathblow series for Wildstorm. Very much in the vein of Mignola, Sale and Miller.


        • I’ll check it out, I’ve never seen any of that stuff, WildStorm books never held much interest for me apart from Alan Moore’s ABC titles.


          • Ahhh, then you should also check out StormWatch when Warren Ellis took over then turned it into The Authority afterwards and then the spin-offs that came out of it. Some of his best work.


          • I’ve heard that from others before, as well. It’s definitely near the top of my “to check out” list!


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